Me and Mrs. Jones

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Me and Mrs. Jones is a song by the American songwriters Kenny Gamble , Leon Huff and Cary Gilbert . It was sung by Billy Paul for the first time in 1972 and has developed into a Philadelphia soul classic that has been covered by numerous other artists.


Me and Mrs. Jones' lyrics describe an extramarital love affair between a man and a woman named Mrs. Jones. The two lovers know that their relationship is wrong, but they cannot leave each other. Every day at the same time, six thirty, the couple meet in the same café and make plans for the future together while listening to their favorite song hand in hand. But both keep their hopes in check, because they are already in a relationship. The pain of breaking up when they have to part is relieved by the knowledge that they will meet again the next day.

Unusual for a song about adultery is the adulterer's perspective. Billy Paul's lecture is accompanied by piano, strings and a saxophone, which in its introductory solo quotes the song Secret Love by Doris Day , and thereby also gives an indication of “secret love”. The nature of the presentation and the sensual voice of Billy Paul make the extramarital affair sound like "the height of sophistication", according to Ludovic Hunter-Tilney: "Never before has the seventh commandment been broken so gently." According to the Encyclopedia of Popular Music , however, Pauls is increasingly unorthodox Style of singing feel guilty. Hunter-Tilney points to the zeitgeist of the 1970s, when adultery was banned in Pennsylvania until 1973, and a vote on the continuation of the ban was rejected just days after the song was broadcast on the television program Soul Train . The ban was finally lifted the following year.

Axel du Bus opens up another possibility of interpretation by pointing out that "a jones" is an American slang expression for irrepressible lust or obsession and is also used for addiction to heroin . The lyrics could also be reinterpreted as an addict's encounter with his drug dealer, in keeping with the saying that two out of three songs in music history are either about sex or drugs.


On a broadcast on National Public Radio , Kenny Gamble said that he and his partner Leon Huff had the idea for the song in a small bar in the Schubert Building in Philadelphia , where their record label Philadelphia International Records was based. Here they saw a short man every day, in whom they suspected a judge who met a younger woman who always appeared a few minutes after him. Both sat together and listened to the same songs on the jukebox every day before they parted again after a while. Gamble and Huff then developed the phrase that the two were "Me and Mrs. Jones".

In contrast to this legend is the statement of Cary Gilbert, who claimed all his life that he was the one who actually wrote the song. According to John A. Jackson, the main part of the text is likely to come from Gilbert, while Gamble and Huff contributed most or all of the music and possibly changed or added Gilbert's text. The song was arranged by Bobby Martin , who gave it a bluesy big band sound that, in his opinion, went perfectly with the lyrics. The Soul - Ballade was designed according to Jackson made for viewing on the radio to where it was a huge success.


Me and Mrs. Jones reached position 1 in the recording of Billy Paul, which was released in October 1972, on the American singles hit parade Billboard Hot 100 and held that place for three weeks. The song won the 1973 Grammy Awards for Best Male Vocal Performance in the Rhythm & Blues category .

Numerous singers covered the song, such as the Canadian Michael Bublé , who reached number 67 in the Swiss charts with his interpretation in 2007 . In 2006 Amy Winehouse created a new interpretation of her album Back to Black with Me & Mr. Jones , in which she reversed the gender roles.

Kathleen McGhee-Anderson and Charles Randolph-Wright staged a musical revue of the greatest hits by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff in 2001 under the title Me and Mrs. Jones .

After Billy Paul's death on April 24, 2016, Gamble and Huff published an obituary in which they wrote: “Our proudest moment with Billy was recording the lewd smash hit Me and Mrs. Jones . From our point of view it is one of the greatest love songs that have ever been recorded. "

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b Me and Mrs. Jones by Billy Paul at
  2. ^ "The very height of sophistication. Never has the seventh commandment been broken so smoothly. ”Quoted from: Ludovic Hunter-Tilney: The Life of a Song: 'Me and Mrs Jones' . In: Financial Times , April 17, 2015 (for a fee).
  3. Colin Larkin (Ed.): The Encyclopedia of Popular Music . Omnibus, London 2011, ISBN 978-0-85712-595-8 , p. 1977.
  4. ^ A b Ludovic Hunter-Tilney: The Life of a Song: 'Me and Mrs Jones' . In: Financial Times , April 17, 2015 (for a fee).
  5. Axel du Bus: Your Song: Me and Mrs. Jones, Billy Paul . On RTBF , June 8, 2012 (with the lyrics printed).
  6. John A. Jackson: A House on Fire: The Rise and Fall of Philadelphia Soul . Oxford University Press, New York 2004, ISBN 0-19-514972-6 , blank , footnote 39.
  7. Eils Lotozo: Soulful saga built on hits of Gamble and Huff . In: The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 20, 2001. Reprinted from Kathleen McGhee-Anderson's website.
  8. "Our proudest moment with Billy was the recording of the salacious smash 'Me and Mrs. Jones." In our view, it is one of the greatest love songs ever recorded. "Quoted from: David Chang: Philly Soul Singer Billy Paul Dies at 81: Manager . At: NBC , April 24, 2016.